Hogmanay Webcam From Market Square, Wick HERE - Street Party Starts At 10.30pm
Web cam hopefully will be here but due to lack of broadband connection it will be on a still picture refresh every 30 seconds or so. Webcam up thanks to Paul Broadwidth and Doug Mackay.



Activity At Derelict Dominoes In High Street, Wick
Many Wickers are asking is something finally going to happen to the derelict site in High Street that was once the cinema and more recently a until a few years ago Dominoes nightclub that was burnt down in a fire. Planning permission was applied for in 2006 by Big Beat Leisure to create nightclub and restaurant.  Scaffolding was erected a few days ago and the front of the building and wooden hoarding all painted blue.  The scaffolding came down today.  But the big questions remains.  Will anything happen this time to this eyesore on the High Street?  After previous planning applications came to nothing everyone is hoping the site will finally be cleared up.

A Smoke Free NHS Highland From 1 January 2008
No More Smoking At Hospital Doorways Or On Hospital Grounds For Staff and Patients

As from 1 January 2008 all of NHS Highland’s premises and grounds will become smoke free in line with NHS Highland’s Tobacco Policy. The Board is urging staff, patients and visitors to comply with the policy to ensure its success. Susan Birse, Acting Tobacco Coordinator for NHS Highland, explains: “We hope this policy will improve the health of staff, patients and visitors by protecting them from harmful exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Smoking is one of the biggest causes of disease and early death in Scotland. Research has shown that 70% of smokers want to quit and we think it will be easier for them to succeed when they have fewer opportunities to light-up. However beating an addiction to tobacco isn’t easy and our smoke-free policy goes hand in hand with support for people to stop.”

Police Step Up Drink Driving Campaign Over Holiday Period            BOOK A TAXI
The Force will continue to carry out intelligence-led patrols and will be out in numbers across the Festive period and beyond to detect drink drivers, as well as those taking part in the equally dangerous practice of drug driving."

Wick Street Party kicks off at 10.30pm and Thurso at 9.30pm

Are You Ready For Angling Season In Caithness
At present it is only sea fishing that is available but it's not long to wait now for the new Salmon Season to start, January 11th sees Rivers Thurso, Naver, Helmsdale and Halladale open. The Wick opens on the 11th Feb and the brown trout season starts on the 15th March. Maybe time to get the equipment sorted out or replaced.  How about a new rod from Hugo Ross in Wick.

Chip The Cocker Spaniel At Peedie Sands Yesterday
At least we know the dogs in Caithness are enjoying the beaches.  Here we see Chip the Cocker Spaniel out yesterday for a game of footie at Peedie Sands.



Latest Police Items - Can You Help With Information On Any Of These?
Disturbance - Churchill Road, Castletown
Disturbance - Taj Mahal Restaurant, Castletown
Vandalism Glamis Road, Wick
Lorry Hit Car In Freswick Area
Damage To Car - Homeaid, Princes Street, Thurso
Vandalism Murchison Street, Wick
Vandalsim In Macrae Street, Wick
Copper Theft - Coronation Street, Wick
Intruder - Cairndhuna Terrace, Wick

Hierarchy are finally taking the game to Scotland’s youngsters - The Herald
Wick and Thurso get a mention is in this story about rugby development (near the end)

Now, a driveway that spins 180 degrees to solve reversing problems - Web India
The power of the web to spin a story round the globe mentioning Caithness flagstone exemplified in this item from Web India that looks like it was taken from the Scotsman.  Anyone want a revolving parking space for the car?

Pets and More Pets
Taloula         Phoebe                       Phoebe and Saffi

Street Parties In Thurso And Wick To Bring In 2008
Both ends of Caithness are gearing up for big street parties with pipe bands, groups, singers and all the usual hogmanay festive fare. 

Want To Get Fit and Feel Better In 2008 - Try Yoga
Anyone can do it and Shona Frisken is qualified to show you how.  She has entered the first of her 2008 classes starting in the new year.  Gentle exercise can help you feel better, lose inches and even weight so why not give it a go by joining the classes.  This could be one of your better new years resolutions.....
Not in Caithness then try Yoga Finder  Shona Frisken is still listed as in Edinburgh but she really is here in Caithness.

Can Wind Power Find Its Footing in the Deep?
This item was found on the Save Nantucket Sound web site and helps show that there will be arguments for and against placing turbines in the sea. As the number of turbines increases in the Moray Firth at the Beatrice site will there be similar objections here?

The Inca Trail - Isobel Mackay - Raising Funds For Diabetes UK
Isobel Mackay recently returned from her trip to trek the Inca Trail raising funds for Diabetes UK.  Here is her report of her fantastic trip - Before giving an overview of the Inca Trail, I want to highlight that this trip was the most challenging event of my life, both physically and emotionally. I met the best group of ladies ever, as well as the best organizers and guide – not forgetting our wonderful porters! We were all a team working 100% together! Returning home, I realized that life is for living, loving and enjoying! Standing looking down on to the Lost City was one of the most rewarding, emotional times in my life.                 Make a Donation HERE

Fatal Car Crash - Update
About 1515 hours on Friday 28th December 2007 on the A9 at Coulnagower, by Culbokie, a four vehicle fatal road crash occurred. The crash involved three motor cars and a gas lorry, as a result of which a 36 year old car driver, namely Melainey Rose, from Inverness sustained fatal injuries. Her passenger and mother, 62 year old Catherine Rose, from Brora, was conveyed to Raigmore Hospital, Inverness where she is receiving treatment for her injuries and is described as being "critical". Three other persons were released from Raigmore Hospital shortly after the crash with minor injuries.

Pets Keep Coming
Zain and Jazz                  James and Jerry Gerbils

Breck Enjoys Christmas     Nika - Siberian Huskie   Coco                          Stella
Pets Corner Main Index

Max And Sophie In Caithness For A Wee Holiday

Max has been to Caithness several times to stay at the home of  His previous companion Harley died a while back to be replaced by another stray rescued cat the kitten Sophie who is now thriving. This is her first trip to Caithness but will no doubt be back with Max in years to come.

Sell Almost Anything In The Classified Ads Section Free
All types of Vehicles can be sold FREE of charge and you can include a photo if you place it on a photo web site and draw it back into your ad all at no charge.  Ads can remain for up to two months and then if the item is still not sold it can be put back to try again still FREE of charge.  Our Property ads are also still FREE.

Serious Road Traffic Collision - A9 Cromarty Bridge  - 4.30pm
Northern Constabulary are currently in attendance at a serious three-vehicle road traffic collision on the A9 at Cromarty Bridge. The collision involved two cars and one lorry and a total of five people have been involved in the incident. Sadly one person has been fatally injured as a result of this collision, and the further four have been taken to Raigmore Hospital for treatment for injuries with only one thought to be serious at this point.
The road is closed in both directions and there are diversions in place, however members of the public are asked to allow extra time for their journey. It is expected that the road will remain closed for a considerable period of time.
The collision happened approximately 1515 hours today and Northern Constabulary are appealing to anyone who was in the area and witnessed the collision to contact Police in Inverness on 01463 715555 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Have they not been reading the blog J Arthur McNumpty and the Christmas Whip article on 23 December to know that folk are watching attendances at the Scottish Parliament with the Lib Dems coming out worst.

Latest Pets

Dounreay Apprentices Donations To Good Causes
The Dounreay apprentices’ annual sponsored walk from the site to Thurso has this year raised £1,500 for local charities and clubs. This year, the Lachie Macmillan Memorial Fund, the Caithness branch of the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), and the Caithness Karate Club have all benefited from the apprentices’ charitable fund raising. The Lachie Macmillan Memorial Fund has been raising money to buy a Transport Monitor for the ICU at Raigmore Hospital. The donation to the RDA will go towards paying for the hire and upkeep of the ponies, while the Karate Club will put the money towards instructor courses and assessments.

Wick Girls Group Gain Awards
Wick Girls Group received a double accolade in the recent Achievement Awards that were organised by the Community Learning Strategy and Development Partnership. Mhariann Plowman, received the Tutor Achievement Award and the 12 members of the group received the Learner Achievement Award. The awards were presented by Councillor Bill Fernie, currently the Chairperson of Education, Culture and Sport, with Helen Allan, Area Community Learning and Leisure Officer in attendance. Nominations of tutors and learners came from all parts of the region for the Celebration of Achievement Awards, with Mhariann’s nomination and the Wick Girls Group nomination coming from Koreen MacDougall, youth development officer with The Highland Council. The 12 members of Wick Girls Group received the Learner Achievement Award for their contribution to Caithness Arts Festival, participating in the Theatre Modo street parade.

A Few Useful Web Sites Bill Has Perused Recently
Learning and Teaching Scotland  Mr Golding's Music Lessons Free Music Theory and Brass Lessons
Voucher Codes

More Badbea History
John Gunn - Died 1876 - From Lynn Craig - Nov 2007
We have a copy of the obituary of John Gunn who died 1876, and its says he was evicted from Auchencraig. I am sending you a copy of my transcription from the paper which I thought might be of interest to you, if you know anything about Marion we would be pleased, especially as we think she had a daughter in 1839 and yet the inscription says she died in 1837 - the daughter is shown in the 1841 census, also named Marion:
Badbea Index

More Pets In Pets Corner

Melvich To Sandside - A Waybaggers Walk In July
July saw us taking a walk from Melvich to Sandside. The sky was a brilliant blue and the sun shone all day. Further inland grey clouds hung around but the north westerly wind kept the coast clear. This is a fantastic piece of coastline with many geos, sea stacks and high cliffs. There were plenty of adult puffins, kittiwakes and fulmars to be seen but there did not seem to be a lot of juvenile birds. Everyone enjoyed their day out and some even had a touch of sunburn! Not bad for this summer.

Merry Christmas From

Christmas Messages On Forum

CVS small grants scheme is open again for applications from the voluntary sector
This is a partnership initiative with Caithness Voluntary Group, Voluntary groups East Sutherland and CVS North which have secured funding from HIE Caithness and Sutherland. Funding is available for formally constituted groups. Assistance given is discretionary and will not be more than 50% of eligible costs.
Many other new funding sources added today

During his last visit to site Laurence Williams, Health & Safety Director, NDA presented certificates to the latest candidates who have completed their SVQ Level 2 in Nuclear Technology Decommissioning following 9 months of extensive training and assessment verification in D1204. The candidates are required to demonstrate their competence by completing a series of core units which are independently and nationally verified to maintain the required standard. Over 20 candidates have successfully completed their SVQ Level 2. 

More Old School Photos
Wick High 3b 1948 - 49     Wick High 1b 1946 - 47
  School Days Index

Latest Pets In Pets Corner

Tiger Moths - Belatedly Added To the Bees Bugs and Butterflies of 2007
Over the next few days Bill will attempt to catch up on his huge backlog of emails with photos in various categories sent in over the past months.  Here is a nice one of moths at Dunbeath Beach.




POLICE are warning those who believe they will get away with drink or drug driving to think again as week two the Festive Road Safety campaign ends. Northern Constabulary officers detected 18 drink drivers during week two of the campaign, which shows that some drivers are still willing to risk their own and the lives of other road users.Northern Constabulary launched its annual Festive Road Safety Campaign on Friday 7 December and asked people to think about how much they could lose by drinking and driving.

Councils Warns Employees To Beware Of Bogus Phone Calls After Bank Details
The Highland Council has issued a message to its staff advising them not to give out personal Bank details over the phone. This warning has arisen due to the Council's Finance Service being alerted by employees who said that they had been contacted by telephone from individuals claiming to be from the Council's Payroll and Pensions office asking for personal Bank details to enable outstanding payments to be made.

Looking Over Plockton

Bill Fernie recently visited Plockton on the west coast of Ross-shire to see the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music and their Christmas concert.  These are a few photos from early the next morning.
Plockton Traditional Music School   More Highland Views

J Arthur MacNumpty Blog Lashes The Christmas Whip At MSP's Who Were Missing
Jamie Stone (LibDem, Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross) and John Farquhar Munro were joint fourth, having missed 19 votes each. SNP Despite Constance being on maternity leave, the SNP have the best attendance record of any political ...

Christmas Gift Appeal Donation From Dounreay
Caithness FM's Annual Christmas Gift Appeal received a major donation from Dounreay. Two thousand pounds worth of toys were donated from UKAEA, AMEC, CH2MHill and Dounreay Employees Charity Fund with all toys being donated by local toy shop ALACAM. All gifts received through this appeal are distributed to children and teenagers in the county. Representatives from each company presented the toys to Caithness FM.

New Tracksuits for Wick Amateur Swimming Club
Wick Amateur Swimming Club's swimmers and coaches are now kitted out in new tracksuits following a donation from Dounreay Communities Fund. The suggestion of club tracksuits came form the swimmers, to wear to training sessions and competitions south. Giving them a sense of pride and belonging to the club. The tracksuits were presented to the swimmers before a training session by Carol Gunn, HIE Caithness and Sutherland.

Boost for Lieurary Hall Committee's Fundraising
Lieurary Hall Committee's funding for the renovation of their hall was given a boost recently with the donation of £350 from Dounreay Communities Fund. The Hall Committee run various events throughout the year that bring the young and elderly people in the district together. As all money raised during fundraising activities helps towards the running costs of the hall, additional funds has had to be raised for the essential maintenance required. Much of the work has been done by the hall committee members or volunteers from the local community, free of charge. Marie Mackay, Dounreay Communities Fund presented the cheque to some of the committee members during their recent Lieurary Ball.

Christmas Parties In Caithness
We have just been told the Milton photo is 2005.



Local Food Apprenticeships – part-time or full-time
Highlands and Islands Local Food Network is a group of 200 farms and crofts, that work together to grow and sell fresh food direct to the public. The network is looking to recruit more farmers, crofters and gardeners who would like to become growers of vegetables and fruit for sale in the Highlands and Islands.

Salvation Army In Wick Says Thanks for £1000
Captain Andrew Clark of the Salvation Army in Wick has thanked locals on his blog for their contributions towards gifts for residents of old folks homes and Caithness General.

Could Bog Myrtle Be A New Cash Crop In The North?
Plans for one of the UK's biggest cosmetic makers to turn bog myrtle into an income-earning crop have moved a step closer with approved funding of £201,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). Boots Company PLC has developed products using the essential oil extracted from bog myrtle, a native plant of the Highlands and Islands. Researchers at the chemists have discovered that bog myrtle oil has properties that slow down the skin ageing process and is effective in combating acne. Trial products have been well received by consumers and Boots is keen to build on this to increase production. However, the essential oil used to date has been extracted from bog myrtle harvested from wild plants, and to achieve the increased production it is necessary to cultivate a significant quantity of the plant.

Fly Tipping Can Be Reported Online To Dumb Dumpers
Fly tipping costs Local authorities millions of pounds each year to deal with.  Now you can report fly tipping online. The site Dumb Dumpers also gives details of how to contact councils to get details of where to dump legally.  The web site is run by the Scottish Fly Tipping Forum. The Forum is hosted and chaired by Keep Scotland Beautiful.

The Papers
Police chief ‘considers’ new inquiry into harbour death -
The Herald
Mixed reaction to council financial settlement -
John O'Groat Journal
Caithness record price -
Farmers Weekly
Plans moving forward for £3.5m Halkirk sports complex -
John O'Groat Journal
Nuclear waste could power Britain -
The Observer
UK Nuclear Authority Invites Final Sellafield Contract Bids - CNN Money

Thurso Players Pantomime - Jack And The Beanstalk

Wick High School Prom

For many more photos of the Wick High School Prom Click HERE

Outgoing Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) Chief Engineer and Nuclear Safety Director Laurence Williams was at Dounreay recently in time to see the shell of the old fuel fabrication plant come crashing down. The plant, code-named D1202, was the first of the "atomic factories" built at Dounreay in the 1950s to become operational. For the next 47 years, it used enriched uranium extracted from processing work to manufacture fuel elements for reactors in the UK and abroad. It finally shut down in 2003.

Vets Now warns of the dangers of potentially harmful goodies at Christmas
Vet's Now, the UK's leading Out Of Hours emergency vets, is urging owners to be aware of the potential dangers of many seemingly harmless goodies this Christmas. We all enjoy treats over Christmas and while it's tempting to invite your pet to share in treats and left-over tit bits, it's important to be mindful of the potentially fatal effects of items such as chocolate, raisins and many indoor plants. Plants such as Poinsettias and Amaryllis are almost as common place in households at Christmas as tinsel and presents; however, ingestion of even a small part of these plants by dogs can cause mouth and stomach irritation. Another poisonous plant to be wary of is mistletoe, the berries in particular, which are extremely toxic if ingested by dogs.

Caithness Goes All Out To Help Ugandan Orphans After Latest Watoto Visit
Caithness people have made an amazing response to the Watoto African Children's Choir. The people of Caithness have responded in a most generous manner to the needs of Ugandan orphans as the result of the visit of the Watoto Children's choir. The 500 people who attended the final concert in Pulteneytown Parish Church donated an amazing £4,700 and several people agreed to sponsor one of the orphan children that Watoto care for in Uganda. The organisation currently care for 1,700 children who have lost one or both parents. Young and old alike were deeply moved at a series of gatherings in schools and churches as the young people recounted how they had been left without parents and without hope until they were taken to one of the villages that Watoto run. During their four days of concerts £7,200 was donated and over £4000 worth of African souvenirs were sold - Bill Wallace.

Merry Christmas Virus Hoax
Read and do not pass on any warnings you may receive on this one.

Best Caithness Critter Of 2007
At the last Caithness Critters event of the year, Thomas Simpson, aged 10 from Mey received the annual prize for Best Attendance. Organised by Countryside Ranger with The Highland Council's Planning and Development Service, Caithness Critters is a local children's nature group aimed specifically at children aged 8 to 14 with an interest in wildlife and the environment. The group meets on a regular basis and aims to encourage greater appreciation for the environment and wildlife by raising awareness at an early age. At the event held in the Seadrift Centre at Dunnet, the children learned about garden birds and feeding tips before they made their own bird table While presenting Thomas with prizes of bird identification, sticker book and certificate of achievement, Marina Swanson, East Caithness Ranger and watch group leader said: Thomas has done very well and is very enthusiastic about taking part in all our events. His bird table turned out brilliantly especially with the beautiful designs of blue tit and robin.
Anyone interested in joining the club can contact Marina Swanson at The Highland Council Countryside Rangers on 01955 607758 or e-mail         Caithness Critters

Old Thirsa Piccies Forum Still Growing
The thread on our forum where many old photos of Thurso are to be found is still growing and has now had over 600 replies and over 39,500 views.  If you have any old Thurso photos then either place them on a photo web site and draw them into a post in this forum or email them to for the early Caithness photos section.  This section is turning into a huge source of not only photos but old adverts, and other information about people and places around the town.

Early Postcards Of Reay

Reay features in the latest additions to the Early Caithness postcards collection sent in by Peter Strathearn.
Main Early Postcards Index

Seasonal Holidays Are Coming - Have You Got All Your Medications?
Check Pharmacy Opening Times

Orkney Communities Launch Polish Web Site
The team building a special website for migrant workers in Orkney didn't have far to look when they needed someone with the skills to translate the text into Polish. Ready and willing to lend a hand was Malgorzata Walter, who works as the office cleaner at Voluntary Action Orkney. Thanks to Malgorzata's help, the online information pack has just gone live as part of  With funding through HIE Orkney from the European Leader+ programme - and from Orkney's Community Learning and Development Partnership - the aim is to provide workers from Poland with a warm welcome to the islands. And having translated much of the text into her native language, Malgorzata is in no doubt that the new web pages contain invaluable information for people from Poland taking on jobs in Orkney.
Witamy Na Orkney

A trio of Tain members overcame a frost-hit Brora course to win the North Alliance Christmas team event. Brothers Billy and Munro Ferries with Ali Melville were the only group in the field of 21 teams to get below 50, their card of 49 winning by one from two Caithness teams.

Regeneration Plans Set Out With Determination To Succeed

A three year 50-point action plan for regenerating the Caithness and North Sutherland economy has been agreed by key stakeholders. The plan has been developed from the regeneration strategy which went out for consultation a year ago, and input from the Caithness Conference in September. As a result the four main aims of the strategy have been developed into a more detailed set of actions, tailor-made for the region’s particular challenges. The 50 actions are divided into five main categories: Investing in infrastructure and services; developing business and industry assets; developing people; developing Dounreay assets and developing new opportunities through inward investment. Each specific project, such as the creation of a new Centre for Energy and Environment; is briefly described and provided with information on its proposed key partners; estimated costs where known and key milestone dates in the project’s development. The actions cover a comprehensive range of topics from developing an employment brokerage service to lobbying for public sector jobs dispersal. Action Plan (Pdf)  Marketing Plan (Pdf)

A SUTHERLAND driver was caught drink driving twice in the space of two days underlining Northern Constabulary’s promise to crackdown on offenders. Police caught the 58-year-old man on two separate occasions. On the first occasion he was found to be more than twice the legal limit and on the second over four times. Northern Constabulary launched its annual Festive Road Safety Campaign on Friday 7 December and asked people to think about how much they could lose by drinking and driving. The Force are carrying out intelligence-led patrols and are out in numbers across the Festive period to detect drink drivers, as well as those taking part in the equally dangerous practice of drug driving. A recent Scottish Government statistic has revealed that you are more likely to be caught drink driving in the Highlands and Islands than anywhere else in Scotland. Per 10,000 of the population (in 2006/07) 32 people were detected drink driving in Highlands and Islands compared to the national average of 23.

Give A High Life Card From Highland council and Keep The Whole Family Fit
Christmas can last all year if you give someone or the whole family a Highlife Card and get access to all of the council swimming pools and fitness centres.



Last Performance in Wick For Watoto Children's Choir
The Watoto Children's Choir from Uganda returned to Caithness this week. These beautiful children are now orphans as a result of brutal dictators, the scourge of civil war and the deadly AIDS epidemic, an estimated two million children have been orphaned by these calamities. They are singing to raise money for the orphanages in Uganda this week, your opportunity to hear wonderful singing and at the same time raise money for this very worthwhile and needy cause.
Last Performance 16.12.07 Pulteneytown Parish Church at 7pm.

First Aid Course For Sports Groups
The Caithness Sports Council is organising a 2 day HSE First Aid Refresher Course.
Date: Saturday 19 January & Sunday 20 January 2008.

Duke Boys Joined By Halkirk Parish Church Sunday School - Merry Christmas Song
The Christmas song has the Halkirk parish church Sunday school singing on it, the more times they are played the higher up these charts they go.  Play the songs to the end to push them up the charts.

UKAEA Begins Major Recruitment Drive For Engineers To Tackle Decommissioning Work
Engineers from all disciplines, particularly Electrical and Mechanical Engineers are being sought by UKAEA to assist in the major works of decommissioning across the Dounreay site.  Salaries in the range of £25k - £44k are being offered to qualified people.

Mad Friday Buses Are For Everyone On Friday 21st December
Local firms are once again laying on buses for the Mad Friday revellers on Friday 21st December when many workers hit the town for nights out in restaurants and bars.  The firms are emphasising that the buses are for  anyone to use as well as there own employees.  So if you are heading out in Thurso on Friday 21st make sure you take note of the bus times.  Buses will be going round Thurso and to Halkirk, Castletown, Watten and Wick.  Take a note now and maybe a note of taxi numbers to have handy on one of the biggest nights out of the year in Thurso.  The message is leave the car and take a Mad Friday special bus.
The buses are FREE and sponsored by local companies.   DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE

Caithness Youth Forum Go MAD!
Caithness Youth Forum is a group of young people from across the area who get together and help to influence the views of adults and make Caithness a better place for young people to live. They have recently received funding from Highland 2007 to set up an event which will help young people celebrate in the year Scotland celebrates Highland culture. The forum have decided to go MAD and host a Music, Arts and Dance event in Thurso Youth Club on Sunday 16th December for all young people between the ages of 12 and 25. Local bands featuring at the event are Astronaut and Liquid Blue- check out their CD! Camoch Jewellery will have a display of items for sale as well as the Body Shop. There will be the chance to see detached youth work street dancers and while you're at it, why not do some digital artwork as well lead by Paul Smith- a local artist! There will be free food which should be enough to attract you along but what more? The event itself is totally free of charge! So why not come along on Sunday and you'll hopefully have a great time! We look forward to seeing you there.

The Latest Fuel Protest Is Getting Up Steam - Sign the Petitions If You Support
At Downing Street
This link will just take you to the page
See the Fuel Protest site at where there is another petition. 

Ormlie Christmas Lights Switch On
Thursday 13 December 2007 at 6.30 pm outside the Ormlie Centre, Henderson Street, Thurso. The event will begin with an introduction from our Chairperson, Brian Leonard, followed by some Christmas songs by the children from the Ormlie Pre-school centre. Santa will be in attendance and will assist 2 young children from the pre-school to switch on the lights. Following the switch-on there will be mulled wine and Christmas pies in the Ormlie Centre, where the Christmas draw will be held. There will also be an opportunity for residents to purchase a celebratory 10th anniversary calendar, depicting the 10 years of the regeneration project.

This will run from Friday 7th December 2007 to Friday 4th January 2008. These Campaigns will see a marked increase in the number of high visibility pro-active patrols on the street at any given time. The Festive Drink and Drug Driving Campaign will target suspected offenders and there will be a marked increase in vehicle stop checks, not only at night time, but also early in the morning to target those who are under the influence from having indulged the previous night.
A crackdown on anti-social drinking is underway in Scotland with higher fees coming for licensees and Kenny Macaskill, The Justice Minister is setting about tackling the bevvy culture  Up until now the taxpayer picked up most of the costs of licensing and the new regulations will place the costs more firmly at the door of licencees to help cover the actual costs including policing.  New teams using teenager aged 16 will be going into licenced premises and retail outlets testing if alcohol is sold to them.  After two offences licensing boards may take away a license to sell alcohol.  See Under Age Drinking Blitz To Begin  In addition over the next few weeks in Scotland All drivers stopped by police face breath test.  This is for any reason and not just for drivers involved in accidents.  Question - How Much Alcohol Can I drive before it is safe to drive? - Best Advice - None.  Wait 12 hours before driving after drinking alcohol.  Potential penalties if caught are getting more severe and currently If you're found guilty of drink driving, you could lose your license, get a £5000 fine, get up to six months in prison, and have to pay hefty rates for your car insurance losing your no claim bonus for several years. You may need to re-sit your driving test.  If you drive for work you may lose your job.  But apart from drinking and driving for your health's sake check The Safe Drinking CalculatorYour liver will not give you any pain for drinking too much but it may kill you or make your life very difficult if it is damaged by alcohol.  See The Drinking Habit.  Try a soft drink every second drink if going out for night out or if out often a night with no alcohol at all.  Don't Drink If You Are Pregnant There is no cure for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. No level of drinking alcohol has been proven safe during pregnancy.  No alcohol in Pregnancy Advised  Police will also be targeting drugs and driving.  See HERE for more on Drugs and Driving.  In 2007 in Scotland, 30 people were killed and there were 660 drink driving related accidents involving 990 casualties. Causing death while under the influence of drink or drugs can result in up to 10 years in jail. Anyone for lemonade and orange juice this year?

More Early Caithness Postcards

Thanks to Peter Strathearn for sending in these latest postcards.
Main Early Postcards Index

The Glory Of The Garden
The Glory of the Garden was the title chosen by Evelyn Young from Dundee, SAFAS Area Demonstrator and past Chairman of SAFAS, who revisited the Caithness Floral Art Club this month (September 2007). Using a wide range of foliages, flower colours and some fruit and mini vegetables Evelyn's arrangements depicted a summer garden, a winter garden, a vegetable garden, a rose garden and an autumn garden. Evelyn had searched the internet to find sayings related to gardens which she shared with her audience during the evening. A garden is a friend you can visit any time. If you want to be happy for a lifetime plant a garden.

Domestic heating oil cripplingly expensive
Scottish Government must help pensioners and poorest

With world oil prices at their highest ever - and consequently with the cost of domestic fuel soaring - North MSP Jamie Stone has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling on the Scottish Government to take urgent action to help pensioners and poorer families faced with huge oil bills this winter. Speaking in Holyrood, Mr Stone said:- "The fact is that I am now receiving many representations from people badly hit by these crippling price increases. Winter is upon us - and the awful thing is that the record price level is beyond the pockets of many people."

Dunnet Switches On Christmas

Dunnet Forest Log Sales Bag Crisis - Can You Help Supply Bags? 
Sale on Saturday 8th December 10.00am - 1.00pm
Dunnet Forest is run by volunteers through a local trust.  They sell logs to help pay for expenses. They are having a log day this Saturday and are in crisis over bags. They had a supply of chicken feed bags, but the people have now gone on to bulk deliveries. The log sales are growing in popularity and the regulars are good at bringing bags back, but they still need a steady supply. Anyone who can help can email        Dunnet Forestry Trust     Tree Links

Council warns motorists to slow down near Caithness school.
Motorists are being warned that part time 20mph speed restrictions have been introduced at another school in Caithness for children's safety. The new speed limit came into force this week at Wick High School and will operate when pupils are expected to be arriving or departing from the school. Drivers travelling near Wick High should be aware that the 20mph part time speed limit applies on school days from: 8.40am to 9.00am; 12.45 to 1.30pm; and 3.30am to 3.45pm.

Caithness FM  - Annual Toy Appeal
Caithness FM are once again running their annual toy appeal for local children who are less fortunate than our own. New, unwrapped gifts can be delivered to the CFM studio in Neil Gunn Drive in Thurso until 14th December.

Free Hospital Resources For People With Parkinson’s In Scotland 
The Parkinson’s Disease Society (PDS) has launched a washbag full of tips and advice to help the thousands of people with Parkinson’s in Scotland who are admitted into hospital each year get their medication on time during their hospital stay.  When they don’t, their ability to manage their symptoms may be lost, for example, they may suddenly not be able to move, get out of bed or walk down a corridor. The new materials form part of the PDS’s ‘Get it on time’ campaign, launched in 2006 to ensure that all people with Parkinson’s get their medication on time every time in hospital.  The charity’s free ‘Get it on time’ washbag contains: a detailed guide including useful tips on how to prepare for a hospital stay, what to prepare and who to talk to, a medication record, a card to put by their bed and tear off reminder slips to alert staff to their Parkinson’s.

Mey Selections Delivers The Luxury Of Christmas On The Web

Mey Selections, the brand inspired by HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay and created by a group of farmers in the North Highlands of Scotland, has launched a range of luxury hampers on its new website Mey Selections in time for Christmas. They are available for all to purchase from selected retail outlets or by telephone.  Mey Selections Luxury Hampers will be available all year, but if they are required in time for Christmas 2007, orders should be placed by Wednesday 19th December 2007 to avoid disappointment.
11 Different Hampers To Choose From
New Mey Selections Web Site Front Page

Caithness locals urged to help Swifts
Members of the public are being invited to join Highland Council's Countryside Rangers to build bird boxes for Swifts, at the Seadrift visitor centre, Dunnet this Saturday (8th December 2007). The Swift Box Day has been organised by the Council's Rangers in the Planning and Development Service and after the event, volunteers will be rewarded with coffee and baking at the local hotel. The build is one of the local Biodiversity Projects taking place around the county and features in the Caithness Countryside Volunteer programme of events.

Consideration of Baillie Wind Farm application deferred
Consideration of an application by Baillie Wind Farm Limited to construct and operate a wind farm at Westfield, Thurso has been deferred by The Highland Council. The Council was due to consider the application at a meeting of the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross Planning Applications and Review Committee in the Ross Institute, Halkirk, on Tuesday 4 December 2007 commencing with a site visit at 10.30am, followed by a hearing to be held in the Ross Institute (at 12.30pm).
The deferral, which has the agreement of the applicant, is to ensure that all persons who are making representations on the application to the Scottish Government will have the opportunity to engage in the
Council's hearing process, when it considers the detail of the application. The Council will set a new date for the meeting in the immediate future. The meeting of the Planning Applications and Review Committee on Tuesday will still go ahead at 10.30 am to consider the other business on the agenda.
A new date possibly Friday 14th December will be considered by councillors at the meeting on Tuesday.

Public Transport Campaign Group
Robin Falconer is convener of the Public Transport Campaign Group for Highland Youth Voice, The Youth Parliament of the Highlands, and he is keen to improve the public transport service for all young people in the Highlands along with the rest of the committee. To do this they need the views of young people in the Highlands and also for adults to have their say on the transport system as well. Over the next year, they hope to have as many transport companies as possible on the Young Scot Card and National Entitlement Card scheme offering high discounts for Young People in the Highlands. You can contribute your views on transport for young people in the forum and sign the petition at the following link

Season Of Candlelight - November 2007
Jo Goldsworthy from Stonehaven's title Season of Candlelight enabled her to the use a varied colour palette in her arrangements for the Caithness Floral Art Club. Autumn, Fireworks, Firelight, A Frosty Garden, A Christmas present and Christmas were depicted utilising a beautiful selection of flowers and foliage.

Also just added Fun With Flowers - August 2007       Caithness Floral Art Club Index

Despite the global credit crunch, the festive season is set to lure consumers to splash out again this Christmas. So the Credit Services Association (CSA) ­ the official body representing the UK debt collection industry ­ has re-launched its seven point plan to help consumers avoid the pitfalls of debt over the festive period.

Slashing of enterprise funding is a serious blow for the North
North MSP Jamie Stone has hit out at the Scottish Government's announcement that it is slashing funding for the enterprise network in the Highlands. Speaking in the Scottish Parliament this week, Mr Stone said: "It was a real leap of faith when the Highlands & Islands Development Board was established in the 1960s. It did a very great deal of good in terms of halting population decline and boosting the local economies of some of the most remote and fragile areas of Scotland. Now, a generation later, it has come as a very serious blow indeed that the Scottish Government has decided to undermine such previous investment by dramatically cutting its financial support for the enterprise network in the Highlands." "Estimates vary, but the cut is at least £50 million over the next three years, and it could be as high as £100 million.

Reay 1933 Schooldays Photo Results In More Early Photos
A schooldays photo of Reay from 1933 was found by Peter Strathearn. His mother, Mollie Fyfe, his Aunt, Mavis Fyfe, and his uncle Peter Fyfe were in it. Peter has sent in a couplke of photos from his mother's photo album and one shows an early Caithness registered car. The car has an SK license plate, so it must be local!

The Autumn Sky - Latest Astronomy Update From Gordon Mackie
The latest 'newsletter' giving some details on what can be seen during the coming month including how to view our own galaxy, the Milky Way in the dark skies we have in the North of Scotland. This is hopefully a useful follow on to those that enjoyed the Royal Observatory organised Dark Skies events in September at Dunnet. Gordon Mackie is interested to hear from anyone following on from the success of the Dark Sky event at Dunnet in September. Anyone with a similar interest in astronomy and in observing the night sky in Caithness is requested to contact Gordon.

Wick Players Present "Aladdin" Tuesday 11th to Saturday 15th December
Assembly Rooms, Wick - 7.30pm - Tickets £6 concs 35 (14 and under, 60 and over)
Get your tickets at Poltney news, Dempster Street.

Thurso Christmas Fun Day

Thurso had a busy day with the town centre thronging with shoppers for the Christmas Fun day.  Shop staff were dressed up in a variety of costumes and Caithness FM played music over the whole day blasting bubbles into the air from their mobile station.  Santa's grotto was kept busy and the weather stayed dry and chilly.  Several shops had 10% off everything as special attraction and it seemed to have gone down well as shoppers crowded in.

Caithness And North Sutherland Children's Choir Singing Carols At Tesco, Wick
The Caithness and Sutherland Children's Choir received many rounds of applause from shoppers at Tesco, Wick on Saturday for their renditions of carols and Christmas songs.


Last Few Days Papers
Force criticised for 'arrogance' - Galloway Gazette
Force 'arrogant' towards family  - BBC

Sunday Papers
How top Nazis were brought to a secret Scottish prison camp for brainwashing - Scot On Sunday
Item on the prisoner of war camp at Watten in WW2.

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